By LARRY VAUGHT
Give ESPN analyst Jay Bilas saying what every Kentucky basketball fan was thinking — or should have been thinking Saturday night.
“This is a tail-kicking right now,” Bilas said late in Florida’s 88-66 victory over visiting Kentucky.
It was Florida’s biggest win ever over Kentucky, and it could have been even bigger. The Gators dominated the boards 54-29. That is 25 more rebounds than UK and the Gators owned the offensive rebounding edge 17-7. Florida made 18 of 27 shots in the second half.
UK’s offense? Malik Monk was scoreless in the first half and 4-for-14 from the field in the game. Isaiah Briscoe was 3-for-10 and had four turnovers. Bam Adebayo was 4-for-10. Dominique Hawkins went 0-for-3 with a season-high three turnovers.
De’Aaron Fox, who had been sick all week, led UK with 19 points on 5-for-11 shooting from the field and 9-for10 at the foul line. He had three assists and three turnovers in 25 minutes. Mychal Mulder was 3-for-6 for 8 points.
There is no statistic for energy. If there was, Florida would have dominated that by an even bigger margin than it did the rebounding.
“They are playing harder than Kentucky,” Bilas said late in the game. “They have all five guys playing hard and together. Kentucky has some guys playing hard, but Florida has five.
“Kentucky can’t get anything going. This has been a disaster and it continues. I can’t remember seeing Kentucky get beat like this.”
Not with a team this talented but UK has now lost three of its last four games and if not for a 30-point second-half performance by Monk against Georgia it would be four straight. Kentucky no longer leads the SEC — South Carolina does.
Kansas, Baylor and West Virginia, also top 10 teams, all lost at home Saturday. Arizona got thumped at Oregon. But Kentucky is jus trending down and down.
Can coach John Calipari change that flow? The answer should be yes. But is it? At this point, I’m not so sure.